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How much better does Saquon Barkley make the Giants?

Bucky Brooks says the team’s first-round pick makes them instant NFC contenders

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Saquon Barkley
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Saquon Barkley makes the New York Giants better. There is no doubt about that. He will help their running and passing attacks, and maybe even their kickoff return game.

How much better, though?

Bucky Brooks believes Barkley could “rival” Odell Beckham Jr. as the team’s best offensive player and makes the Giants instant contenders in the NFC:

I know I’m stepping out on a limb when I suggest Barkley could overtake OBJ as the team’s top offensive player, but I believe Barkley has Le’Veon Bell-like qualities that could make him nearly impossible to contain in a rebuilt offense that will accentuate his strengths as a player.

The Giants’ new and improved offensive line features a trio of new members (second-round pick Will Hernandez and free-agent additions Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh) adept at blowing defenders off the ball. With Barkley built to run between the tackles and on the edges, opponents have to pay extra attention to the Giants’ running game, which means more “plus-one” defensive fronts and single-high safety coverage.

While those tactics will help slow down the Giants’ potent running game, it will leave OBJ in one-on-one coverage, and that’s a scary thought based on the receiver’s impressive resume as a record-breaking playmaker. If opponents elect to double-team OBJ, the Giants can hand it to Barkley or target him out of the backfield against an overmatched linebacker. As one of the best pass-catching running backs to enter the league in recent years, Barkley gives Eli Manning an easy outlet to target on the perimeter.

In a quarterback-driven league, a team should make every move with the intent to elevate the play of the QB. The addition of Barkley helps Manning and gives the Giants a chance to creep back into title contention on the strength of a high-powered offense.

Are you buying what Brooks is selling, Giants fans?